2.5 year old REFUSING to go to sleep...Please help! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 12-06-2007, 10:18 PM - Thread Starter
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I sit here crying as my husband tries to deal with my hysterical 2.5
year old as she is trying to go to sleep. I did her bedtime routine
tonight, reading her stories, rocking her and then putting her in bed.
She refuses to sleep. I NEED HELP! I do not know how to get this
little girl to surrender to sleep and be happy in her bed. Here are
the details. PLEASE, if anyone has suggestions, I really really am at
a loss here. I'm going insane.

She has been putting herself to sleep (us doing a 20 min routine with
her before bed) for almost 2 years now. She is in a toddler bed with
rails all the way around it (on 3 sides, the other side is pushed up
against the wall). She doesn't get out of bed, she just refuses to
lay down and screams anything she can to stay awake. Usually this
involves "I want mommy!" "Daddy daddy daddy!" "I don't want to sleep!"
and other variations. We thought it was her heater popping that was
scaring her and keeping her awake. Well, we named the heater Sofia,
talk to her, she seems to be over that fear, but still this going to
bed thing has gotten worse. Oh, and she also does these things in the
middle of the night when she wakes up (3:20am last night - was awake
until 5:00 when my husband finally slept on the hardwood floor with
her and some couch pillows). She seems to just not want to be alone.
And I get this, who wants to sleep alone, right? But, the thing is
that I have to have her sleep alone sometimes. First of all, my
younger son, 10 mo. old is in bed with us, nursing all night long. We
only have a queen sized mattress and I refuse to fit a family of 4 in
there when our son, Noah, is already crowding the 2 of us out. So,
last night at 4:00 in the morning I set up a little bed (sleeping bag)
on the floor next to our bed to let her sleep in. She wouldn't even
do that! She wouldn't lay down, stayed standing up and cried enough
that she woke up Noah, and I had to take her back into her own room.
I don't know what to do.

I've tried reasoning with her, rocking her (she wakes up when I put
her back in bed), sitting by the side of her bed and holding her hand
(that works, but I can't do that every time she needs to go to bed -
especially when I have a 10 month old who is at various stages of
going to bed, taking naps, asleep, etc.

I want her to know she's not alone, not to be afraid, etc. But I also
want her to go to sleep on her own, and not need to be cuddled EVERY
moment of her sleeping life. I just can't do that with another kid, a
Bradley class to teach in 30 minutes, and sleep that I need myself...

Any ideas????
PLEASE help me!! I've never felt so lost in my parenting!
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#2 of 14 Old 12-06-2007, 10:24 PM
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but sympathy and empathy, ds did not sleep, not more than 20 min a day for the first year, 40 min the second, so we........stayed up with him. i dont recomend it. i still feel tired, i still only get about 4 hours night. i know some people- i didnt do this but i hear it works- they hit a no sleep stage and just put dd in front of a tv then on a show on repeat and let her stay there until hours later when she fell asleep. they got to sleep. we didnt. maybe music? what about chamomile tea? feng shui? maybe u need to rearrange the room? good luck and sweet dreams to you.....blessings.
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#3 of 14 Old 12-06-2007, 10:50 PM
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I think she's telling you quite clearly that she needs you right now. I would find a way for her to sleep with you- perhaps you can push her bed up to yours.

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#4 of 14 Old 12-06-2007, 11:22 PM
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Hi there -

HUGS!!! I'm so sorry things are hard right now. We just had something VERY similar. Please PM me if you need to. We can talk on the phone if you need to.

Our story is a bit different. We're moving and staying at my mom's (VERY stressful and unpleasant for me and thus everyone else). So that's a big deal in all of our lives. DD is turning 3 in Jan so about the same age. We too have a heater.

K - I'm skipping around a bit sorry - tired. So we DID have a great routine for months. She went from going to sleep with me just saying goodnight to her needing us to sit with her until she feel asleep and then waking all night long. It was a rough few weeks.

Then she started saying very clearly that she was scared in that room. Then I asked if she wanted to sleep upstairs with us. She said YES. I said, "OK I think that's great but the only thing is I'm worried the baby (10 mo) might wake you up." She said very clearly, "Oh no, that's fine."

I waited to suggest this cuz I was enjoying having time in the evening with dh - the first time in a long time and having our space. I also wanted to give her a chance to adjust.

But she's upstairs with us on a blow-up mattress and sleeps through the night most nights (maybe she cries out at around 10 PM for a bit. She does this maybe once a week). So its not ideal for ME but she's MUCH happier during the night. She goes down like a breeze.

I think it's a pre-3 yo thing. I think for us its all the changes.

Hope this helps in some small way! Good luck!!!
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#5 of 14 Old 12-06-2007, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by alegna View Post

I think she's telling you quite clearly that she needs you right now. I would find a way for her to sleep with you- perhaps you can push her bed up to yours.

I agree. I think it would be easy for you to push her bed right up against yours. This way she can still feel that she is with the family.We plan to do this eventually when our dd is ready. We will start with her bed next to ours and then after a while put it in her room to sleep. We understand that this will have to be a slow process because we want her to feel comfortable and safe and most of all ready for this.

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#6 of 14 Old 12-07-2007, 12:39 AM
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I really really feel for ya! We are going through the same thing. Ds was a great sleeper, in his own room and crib, until we went to the twin bed. At first, he did fine. We just had to stay there until he fell asleep. Usually took about 10 minutes. Now it is more like an hour. And in our bed by 11pm.

I do not like co-sleeping.: We tried with ds and we slept horrible. He is a "bouncy" sleeper. Just everywhere and I am a super light sleeper as it is.

I hope you find a solution soon. I wish we could since I am having another in 3 weeks!
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#7 of 14 Old 12-07-2007, 12:49 AM
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Another vote for a bigger bed! Co-sleeping is miserable in a too-small bed, but we've found that it's quite lovely as long as everyone has enough space. We've got 3 kids in our bed (a queen and a full-sized mattress smushed together on the floor), and we all sleep well. I certainly wouldn't be happy sleeping alone in my own bed in my own room, knowing that the rest of my family was sleeping together without me. But perhaps I'm projecting!


Mindfully mothering SIX kids (ages 6, 7, 8, 10, 12 & 12) in a small house with a lot of love.
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#8 of 14 Old 12-07-2007, 01:39 AM
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She wants to sleep with you guys. If you can't all fit, get a bigger bed or put another bed next to yours. The baby sleeps with you; maybe she used to sleep with you? And she's lonesome all alone, and dreading it, and can't relax enough to let go and fall asleep. Once she's confident that you want her with you again, she'll calm down and fall asleep more easily.
I've got a 2 month old and a nearly 3 year old in our bed and a very large husband and we fit comfortably (in a king size bed,) no problems. Someday they'll want their own bedrooms; my four older boys are occupying 4 other bedrooms and that's all i've got, so the little ones are stuck with us, anyway.
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#9 of 14 Old 12-07-2007, 01:54 AM
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The situation sounds stressful for all of you. I know you'll be able to find a creative solution that will work for everyone, you just haven't found it yet.

Is your DD napping during the day still? My DD was a nap fighter and now that I have (finally) accepted that she wants all her sleep at night there is much less stress about sleeping - where, when and how. Just wanted to put that out there.
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#10 of 14 Old 12-28-2007, 02:24 PM - Thread Starter
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I really appreciate all the replies. Sometimes it just takes writing down your thoughts and hearing some outside input to help you see a new perspective. Things are going much better, and our solution right now has been to get rid of her toddler bed and she has a new double bed. This way my husband comes and sleeps with her at night if she gets lonely/scared/doesn't want to sleep. She also wants to go to sleep with someone, so we lay down with her until she is in a deep sleep. We are doing much better. Thank you all so much. Great input.
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#11 of 14 Old 12-30-2007, 04:58 AM
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We have a similar situation. DD was fine being put to bed in her crib in her own room through the night from about 8 months to about 20 months. Then we moved and lived with my parents for a couple of months. From then on, she required someone to put her to sleep and woke up wanting company a couple of times at night. We moved into our own place finally after she was about 26 months. The going to sleep routine started taking longer and longer.

We moved her out of her crib into a twin bed that's just big enough to sleep her and an adult. We put up with the long putting her to bed routine - although some nights I just let her stay up until she crashed. When she woke up one of us would go sleep with her - sometimes for the rest of the night. For a couple of months it seemed a little silly like one of us was cosleeping with her in her twin rather than all of us cosleeping together in our king. But honestly I remember my mom having the hardest time getting my little sister out of their bed and I didn't want to go there. It was good to be able to give the other spouse the chance to sleep comfortably and to alternate nights of being the one to sleep with DD. And i figured it was going to be temporary.

True enough, after a few months of this, she started sleeping through the night again (unless she had a cold) and her bedtime routine is usually not problematic or long any more - its usually 10 to 15 mins before she's asleep. We've been thinking that if she stays consistent like this we may try talking about leaving the room before she's fully asleep and being available in the room next door - but since we're expecting #2 at the end of Feb, we won't be surprised if there are some setbacks or changes in her need for attachment and attention.

Good luck with your DD and the new baby!
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#12 of 14 Old 12-31-2007, 02:36 AM
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First of all, I'm soo glad to read that we're not the only ones this is happening to. I definitely feel for all of you since I, too, am sitting at the comp tonite in frustration. DS#1 is almost 3 and digs in his heels at bedtime now. I haven't read much about naps, but do pp dc still do naps? I guess we will have to cut them out now because he took one today and won't go to bed tonite (as opposed to yesterday, no nap, easy bedtime). It sounds like it's just a phase so I'm hoping things will get back to an easier bedtime soon. He sleeps in his own room, but will come into our ks bed w/ 8mo sometime during the nite (4x/wk). It is exasperating!!
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#13 of 14 Old 01-06-2008, 05:31 PM
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We have been going through some rough times here with my 2.5 yo old DD too... She was calling to us every 15 min - needing a different toy, or asking to be covered with the blanket, or needing another kiss and hug - basically testing our ability to "be there" for her - lots and lots of crying and refusing to go to bed. This would go on from 8pm until 2-3am sometimes - sometimes throughout the night every 1/2 hour to hour. Some nights my Dh slept in the big bed in her room (she has a crib and a double bed she fluctuates between) - and eventually it got better. After about 2 months - it is finally down to only one or 2 requests a night, then she goes to sleep happily...
I think she just needed to know we would always come to her aid - and now that she knows that - she can sleep better. It took a LOT of patience, and trying to be calm and rational with being woken up at 3am to put the blanket back on her or get her a tissue or a drink of water. She also got a ladybug nightlight thing for christmas that puts stars on her ceiling at night that she is excited to use every bedtime - so I think that helped too...
Good luck, and and just remember, it won't last forever - it might SEEM like forever - but one day it will be better...

Chelsea - proud mama of my Rosie 7/05 and Sammy 7/07   homebirth.jpgnovaxnocirc.gif
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#14 of 14 Old 01-07-2008, 02:28 AM
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Wow!! This must really be an "almost 3 year old" thing!!! Dd who will be 3 in March, has REALLY been resisting going to sleep. A lot of new fears lately, mostly about ghosts (thanks to Halloween, what a not fun holiday for little ones!)

She really does need the reassurance that we'll be there when she needs us. She sleeps in her own bed in our room and up until a few nights ago NEVER climbed in bed with us and is now doing so a few times a night.

I really think it's a new realization of fears (that things in life can be scary) coupled with learning about pushing boundries. Dd will do whatever it takes to prolong the going to sleep process...

You're not alone!!

mumma to sweet 7 year old girl
and darling 2 year old guy

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